Des Moines
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weekly art forecasts from Central Iowa

Who’s exhibiting and opportunities for artists

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Hung Up

by Jennifer Mitchard on April 23, 2014

Hung Up is the new show at Mars Cafe featuring paintings, sketches, and textiles by Heidi Hafner. The painted objects and “tapestries” are executed with great skill and modesty. As the title suggests, all of the works are based on things that hang; drying peppers, an old canvas bag, her work apron, and the woven canvas tapestries. Most of the work has serene colors and a rough finish making the viewer ponder a deeper meaning which Heidi explains in her statement about the work:


Hafner’s “Blue Tapestry Study” 2011, oil pastel on paper (Source: Mitchard)

“I’m drawn by objects hanging on the wall, the ones often overlooked. They discolor and age, get beat up and gather dust. They gain new textures in their oldness and become lost in their environment.

The beauty of imperfection daily surrounds us. With that in mind, my work leans toward roughness, incompleteness, and modesty.


Installation shot. Hafner at Mars Cafe. (Source: Mitchard)

This interest inspires me to paint raw, un-stretched canvas. I rip, mar, and mend the painted cloth, capturing the aged look of the things I study. These are my tapestries. I then recreate them in portraits, highlighting details that may otherwise go unnoticed.

I hope my work brings viewers to stop and notice the details, to appreciate their stories.”

Jennifer Mitchard is an artist working in Des Moines. WEBSITE 

Hipsteria Continues: Normcore

by Holly Wist on March 31, 2014

There is a lot of online angst about Normcore, a fashion style of the <cough cough> hipster crowd. 

Claims have been made that Normcore is another way rich people are mocking common Americans. That Normcore is a complete withdrawal from fashion. That it’s a style about normalcy and nothingness.



Illustration of Normcore (Source)

A rich American is still an American. If they want to dress like a tacky one, they are entitled. Also the collective loathing of these rich hipsters gets applied to the ENTIRE art crowd, and it pisses me off. And if you haven’t noticed most of the art crowd isn’t rich. Artists work multiple jobs so they can make art that is usually under priced. So if you want to complain about rich hipsters, “lay the fuck off.”

Or help me find my hipster riches.

The “normalcy” of Normcore is American normalcy. It may be cliché American normalcy, but still. Embracing American normalcy does not make a statement of “nothing,” but rather “I can do chic like a lazy American.”

There’s something good about that.

think Macklemore

think Man Repeller

The style incorporates a multitude of complicated variations described by Alison Syrett Cleary as ugly shoe, food court, sporty, nostalgic, mom, and secretly fancy.

See click-through:

Bonus link of the sweetest stuff for fall/winter 2014. 

Holly Wist is an artist working in Des Moines. WEBSITE

Video of Allison Safford’s Hello Goodbye, cast plaster hands, metal rods, wrire. 2012. 

Response by Cat Rocketship

March 18, 2014

Des Moines’ newest gallery opened with a party last Friday night – it seemed like all of the city came out for the first show at Viaduct Gallery at Des Moines Social Club. 

The show was good. It features a strong mix of local and national artists whose work touched on themes of interaction and the intersections of viewer and artist. Interface includes a number of new media works, including a pirate radio station, a booth in which the viewer overhears a phone conversation, and an image which reacts to live postings on Craigslist personals. 


Work by Rob Stephens (Source: ohnobody)

With the strength of the exhibited work, Elise Goodman and her Viaduct Gallery crew set a high standard of original concepts illustrated with quality workmanship.

The gallery has room for improvement in the areas of wayfinding and event logistics. Some work is separated from the larger body, and is easy to overlook, especially when clumps of happy art fans crowd the room. PA speakers obscured the exhibition titles. Although the space still feels like a firehouse worn a bit thin, I am excited to see how it becomes an exhibition space as it settles into its home, throws more shows, and reacts to its art.   

Interface remains on view at Viaduct Gallery through April 13.

Visit Viaduct Gallery’s page
Juice Magazine’s gallery of photos at the opening of Interface